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Digital Humanities Seminar: The Case for Slow Digitisation

Professor Andrew Prescott (Glasgow): ‘The Case for Slow Digitisation’

A Digital Humanities seminar
Date5 December 2018
Time16:00 to 17:30
PlaceDigital Humanities Laboratory, Seminar room 1

Digital Humanities Lab seminar series. Professor Andrew Prescott (Glasgow): ‘The Case for Slow Digitisation’. For many libraries, museums and archives, digitisation has become a matter of optimising workflows and maximising digital coverage of the collections. The number of pages digitised has become a key performance indicator, and matter of pride, for many institutions. However, a production line approach to digitisation runs the risk of producing deceptive surrogates which omit key features of the object digitised. Much of our digitisation is little better than colour microfilming, notwithstanding recent initiatives such as the International Image Interoperability Framework. It will be suggested that we need to slow down, develop more imaginative approaches, and start approaching manuscripts and books as if they are archaeological artefacts, whose story may be uncovered slowly over a long period with a range of technology. Such a ‘slow digitisation’ approach has many parallels with the ‘slow scholarship’ movement and maybe one way whereby Digital Humanities can promote a more humanistic culture in the academy.

Andrew Prescott is Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Glasgow and Theme Leader Fellow for the 'Digital Transformations' strategic theme of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. From 1979-2000 he was a Curator in the Department of Manuscripts at the British Library, where he acted as British Library co-ordinator for a number of digital projects, including most notably Electronic Beowulf, edited by Kevin S Kiernan of the University of Kentucky. From 2000-2007 he was Director of the Centre for Research into Freemasonry in the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield. He has also worked at the University of Wales Lampeter and at King's College London as Head of its Department of Digital Humanities from 2012-2015.  He has served on the advisory boards of many digital humanities projects in Britain and America. 

Join us for drinks and nibbles following the paper!

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